The risk of roadkill for Tasmanian devils is elevated at this time of year, so road users are being encouraged to take extra caution on our roads.
Roadkill season occurs at the time of year when naïve juvenile devils are dispersing away from their natal dens and becoming independent from their mothers. It is also the time of year when Tasmania experiences an increase in visitors and local Tasmanians also take a break over the holiday season. The devil’s black colouration against dark roads can make it difficult for drivers to detect an animal and take evasive action.
“Over 10 years of collecting data on devil roadkill has shown us that there is a very clear peak in devil roadkill between October and April with December-February being the worst time of year,” Dr Samantha Fox (PhD) – Acting Program Manager, Save the Tasmanian Devil Program said.
“Devil populations that have already been significantly impacted by the devil facial tumour disease are more vulnerable to other threats like roadkill, which could have considerable consequence.
“Research conducted on Tasmania’s roadkill issue showed that reducing speed by 20 per cent from 100km/h to 80km/h could reduce roadkill by 50 per cent,” Dr Fox said.
This is especially important in identified devil roadkill hot spot areas including Woolnorth, the Forestier and Tasman Peninsulas, the Channel Highway especially between Huonville and Cygnet, Nichols Rivulet Road, and the West Tamar Highway between Legana and Exeter.
The Tasmanian Government has joined forces with the Circular Head Council and Cradle Coast NRM along with other key stakeholders and industries, to develop a campaign to reduce the number of Tasmanian devils killed on our roads, particularly in the Woolnorth area.
Through driver awareness and education, including the installation of signage, combined with roadkill removal and speed limit reductions for trucks, the campaign aims to reduce the incidence of Tasmanian devil roadkill.
Woolnorth represents one of the few areas where the devil population remains abundant and stable and has not been affected by the Devil Facial Tumour Disease. However, the area has one of the highest reports of devil roadkill in Tasmania.
If all road users slow down to help save our Tasmanian devils and other wild creatures, we can all play a part in reducing roadkill on our roads.
Photo: ©2016 Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment,Tasmania